​​​​​​​​​​​Learning intentions

The planning for a semester, unit, or lesson begins with determining the learning goals or learning intentions – what the learner should be able to know, understand and do as a result of the learning. The practitioner and l​earners take responsibility for the learning and they collaboratively develop the learning intentions.
Clarity of learning intentions and explicit sharing of them with learners are essential for learners to become engaged and motivated to achieve progress in their learning.

Learn more about know, understand and do

Download some sentence starters for learning intentions based on Bloom's taxonomy​​

Success criteria

The next step is identifying the criteria by which achievement of the learning intentions will be measured. Involving learners in this step engages and motivates them to want to achieve. Useful success criteria are specific, they describe what success looks like and they are measurable.


It is essential that the learning intentions and success criteria are explicit and understood by learners, their families and the practitioner. Providing models and examples of work that meet the success criteria enable learners to understand the depth and quality of work required to meet the expectations jointly set with the practitioner.

View examples of learning intentions and sample success criteria

​​​Checking clarity is shared​​​

Learners should be able to answer these questions –​

  1. What are you learning?
  2. Why are you learning this?​
  3. How are you learning this?
  4. How will you know when you have learned it?​


Practitioners should be able to explain to the learners –​

  • What is to be learnt – the learning intentions
  • How the learning intentions are linked to the bigger ideas and understandings that the learners will learn
  • How children will be learning
  • How the learning activities are relevant to the success criteria
  • How learners will demonstrate their learning – what learners will say, make, write or do with reference to sample assessment tasks
  • How this new learning will impact on future learning


When development of learning intentions is shared, the planning reflects learner need and ensures the depth of learning required is appropriate for each learner. Deep teacher knowledge is essential when designing Learning Intentions. The practitioner must know well their learning domain and the progression of learning within that domain to appropriately assess where a learner is at in their learning and to identify the next steps in the learning.The main purpose for developing effective learning intentions is to help answer ​the question, ‘What knowledge, skill and understandings do I want the learners to acquire as a result of the learning?'

Once the overall Learning Intentions are framed, then consideration can be directed to differentiating those Intentions whilst keeping the integral focus of the session.


The centrality of clear learning intentions for learners to progress in their learning is illustrated in this graphic.

​​An image showing entrality of clear learning intentions for learners to progress in their learning​​
Source: Education Services Australia
Further Reading

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Learning intentions and success criteria, John Hattie (video). Sighted 11/05/2016


Hattie explains the importance of linking success criteria and learning intentions and of showing students what success looks like.

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Updated 12/05/2016